Kudos: I loved the your reference to the perfume salesladies by the pseudonyms of Gwendolyn and Cecily, who are also the cooky Pigeon sisters of "The Odd Couple." It added another dimension to their attempt to find you a perfect perfume. Thank you!
Gene Weingarten: Ah, but see, that was itself an homage. They first appeared as the dippy girlfriends in Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."
Now, let me tell you of the incredible omniscience of Pat the Perfect. After I wrote this column, I asked her to read it. Didn't flag those names at all. She sent me the following message:
You should know that it Wilde spelled it Gwendolen but Neil Simon spelled it Gwendolyn.
She just ... knew.
Philadelphia, Pa.: Did you know when you wrote the perfume column that "abattoir" means slaughterhouse? It's kind of funny either way.
Gene Weingarten: Um, yes, I did.
Wisconsin Ave., Washington, D.C.: Your perfume column reminded me of my husband's first attempt to buy me clothing as a gift. He planned ahead by looking at the labels of several of my favorite shirts so he would know what what size to buy. Armed with the knowledge (medium) he went off to the mall and walked into the first store he saw. He saw a shirt he thought I would like and found a medium. He says it looked a little large to him but he figured that he was just being neurotic and so he bought it, had it wrapped, and proudly presented it to me that night.
The minute I saw the box I knew there was a problem. It was from Lane Bryant, a store that uses the word "women's" as a code for plus-size. Of course you have know that code word and he didn't, so he bought me a shirt that fit like a tent. He has never attempted a clothing purchase for me again, depite my assurances that he was the victim of evil marketing and has no reason to feel shame. In his defense, it was a nice shirt and had it fit, I would have worn it proudly.
Gene Weingarten: Many years ago, I wrote a column on precisely this topic.